Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Summer of Cool

Growing up in the 50's and 60's, summers took on over-arching themes. The summer we lived in Perry, Georgia, will always be the Summer of the Gnat. All I remember about that year is being covered with tiny, annoying insects the minute little 4-year-old me walked outside. Then there was the Summer of Endless Vacation Bible Schools, when Mother made sure we sampled VBS experiences at home and wherever we had relatives - Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville. Many popsicle sticks gave their lives for tawdry projects the year of VBS-overload.

But the summer that changed everything was the Summer of Cool.

That's the summer Daddy carved out one of the windows in the den and installed our very first air conditioner. Until that magical day all a Southern kid could count on for summertime cool were open windows (praying for a breeze), oscillating electric fans, popsicles, and the water hose in the side yard. But y'all, none of those - or all of them in combination - came anywhere near the cooling power of a whackin' great window unit air conditioner.

Now, ours was a large-ish house with lots of little rooms. The exception in this rabbit warren was a good-sized den in the back that ran the width of the house. With the TV and multiple comfy places to flop, it made sense that room got cooling priority. Yes, the rest of the house suffered from the lack of a full-powered artic breeze, though strategically placed fans helped move the air through. Still, somehow the whole crazy place seemed, well, cooler in every sense of the word.

It was a brand new world, baby! Cooling air, cooling tempers. Life a Southern girl had never known. And that was the beginning of my AC addiction. I've never out-grown it. When Yankee friends complain about our freezing cold Atlanta buildings, I just tell 'em to throw on a sweater.

Now I do realize that air conditioners are bad boys when it comes to affecting climate change, so my challenge to all you STEM babies out there - get busy finding an earth-friendly way to keep us cool. Because as much as I love oscillating fans, popsicles, and a water hose in the side yard, they just don't have the same refreshing punch they had before Daddy pushed the ON button that fine day in the Summer of Cool.

1 comment:

Liz Hinds said...

Oh to be in need of air conditioning. As I write this it's mid-August and the sky is grey and rain is doing its very best to fall. And I've resorted to my thick woolly jumpers of an evening.

On the other hand my brief experience in Vietnam last year dampened - literally - my enthusiasm for heat.